James McTeigue must be an interesting man to talk video games with, seeing as he's had experience both directing movies (V For Vendetta) and working in the games business. So it's nice reading this interview with him on GI.biz, where amongst talk of video game movies and video games based on movies, he offers a tip for the game developers of the world.
Many of whom might scoff — he's coming at the situation from the point of view of a guy who works mostly in a medium with a controlled, linear narrative — but then, a fresh pair of eyes can also give you the best advice.
And I like his advice, because it's got nothing to do with staff counts, or art design, or difficulty levels. It's about what's put in front of the player's face.
"...there has to be a master of the ship at some point. The master of the ship has to guide you like you do in a film or like you do in a game, so that what I'm going to expose you to is worthwhile", he says. "Like anyone who's been in the gaming industry, you absolutely know that you will not please all of the people all of the time."
"The reason I bring that up is that I think as the maker of the game you ultimately have to decide for the gamer a little bit", he adds. "You can't cover every option, you can't make the interior of every store, because what's the point if you have 10 million people playing the game and only two want to go inside the shop? It doesn't make any sense. Just guide 'em; it doesn't mean that you can't do it sometimes, but make it worthwhile, make it integral to the story, make it part of the thing that you need to do. Just don't get bogged down in the minutiae of that, hoping that someone will go in there sometime."
Like I said, not everyone will agree. For some, that attention to detail is what turns a decorated virtual corridor into a world. But maybe he's right; if it took X amount of people to make all that fluff, could their time and effort have been better spent making the meat of the game better?